The two candidates running for the office of Bamberg County treasurer are citing their financial and business experience as reasons voters should elect them.
Incumbent Treasurer Alice P. Johnson, a Democrat, is being challenged by Cynthia Summers McMillan, also a Democrat.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 12.
A native of Denmark, Johnson says her experience serving as treasurer makes her right for the position.
"I have enjoyed learning how government works and how the importance of good record-keeping plays such an important role in the process," she said.
Johnson says she has full grasp of what the job entails, including dealing with 25 checking accounts; collecting taxes and fees, and providing daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports to county council, various state agencies and audit companies.
"All of my past work experience contributed greatly to the comfort level I felt when I became treasurer of Bamberg County," Johnson said. "You have to have an accounting background (education and experience) to do this job correctly because of the daily work required for maintaining general ledger information, which affects everyone's county budget."
Since becoming county treasurer, Johnson has implemented taking credit card payments for taxes. She says that has helped the collection rate.
"I also requested a drive-through window for payments in our new annex building," she said.
Johnson says she’s focused on providing good service and helping answer taxpayer questions.
Johnson graduated from Denmark-Olar High School. She worked with numbers and finances both in small business and in District 2 schools.
Johnson worked in the accounting department at Sunbeam Corporation in Denmark, later moving to the accounting department at Rockland-Bamberg Industries in Bamberg.
She became an office manager for John L. Haralson's State Farm Insurance office in Denmark.
She eventually received her license to sell and service insurance products. Johnson owned her own insurance office for Prudential Insurance Company.
Johnson has worked for Bamberg County since January 2005, when she joined the magistrate's office as an administrative assistant.
Johnson was appointed to the county treasurer's position by Gov. Mark Sanford in April 2008 to fill the unexpired term of Ann Clayton, who retired. Johnson won the special election for the position in July of that same year.
She is a member of the S.C. Association of Auditors, Treasurers and Tax Collectors; S.C. Association of Countywide Elected Executives; Bamberg County Forfeited Land Commission; Government Finance Officers Association of South Carolina; and the Bamberg County Fire Advisory Board.
She has received two certificates from the S.C. Association of Countywide Elected Executives and serves on the SCACEE Board.
The SCACEE is supporting Johnson, citing her “honesty and integrity” and her “thoughtful approach to the "job."
"Her experience and qualifications are second to none," the SCACEE said in a statement.
A Bamberg County native, McMillan says if she’s elected as the county's treasurer she will ensure the office will be accountable and transparent to all county residents.
"I assure you that each citizen will be treated in a fair manner and with respect," she said. "My mission is to always ensure the county’s finances are prepared and known in a thoughtful, compassionate and deliberate way."
McMillan obtained her associate’s degree in general business with an accounting certificate, with honors, from Denmark Technical College.
She says her work experience helped prepare her for the county treasurer’s position.
"Working in the City of Orangeburg finance department for over 15 years has given me great insight and knowledge into this position," she said. "I am deeply committed to my background of accounting and finance, which has prepared me for this tremendous responsibility."
McMillan received a certificate as a graduate of the Advanced Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
She is also a small business owner and operator of Xsqizit Boutique Specialty Gift Baskets.
McMillan is no stranger to politics.
First elected to Bamberg City Council in a special election in September 2010, McMillan was re-elected to a full four-year term on council in April 2011.
McMillian resigned from city council in June 2016 for another opportunity.
"I am grateful for this awesome opportunity to serve our citizens in another capacity," she said. "My experience while serving on the Bamberg City Council representing the constituents of District 2 has taught me that you must work together to bring about real change."